Tenants follow the lead of buyers in looking for quieter places to live

Prospective tenants are increasingly searching for properties outside of commuter hubs and urban areas, according to Rightmove.

Its analysis of over 60 million rental searches last month shows that compared to last year, more renters who are looking to move outside of London are planning to migrate to the Home Counties.

Meanwhile, those looking to stay in the capital are looking for properties in the outer zones as office-based working and commuting remains infrequent for many renters.

The biggest annual rise in rental searches between August 2020 and the same month last year was recorded in Chessington in Kingston-upon-Thames at 99%. Local agents are reporting over 100 prospective tenants enquiring about properties in some cases.

On the flipside, three of London’s busiest transport hubs – Clapham Junction (-9%), Euston (-10%) and Earls Court (-40%) – have seen the number of rental searches fall this year.

Rightmove says this suggests tenants living in the capital are looking for quieter areas further out from the centre.

Outside of London, the areas with the highest rise in rental searches last month compared to 2019 were Cambridge (76%), Cirencester in Gloucestershire (75%), Oxford (64%), Bishop’s Stortford (62%) in Hertfordshire and Gloucester (62%).

Other popular areas in the capital included South Norwood, Barnet, Colindale, Barnes and Muswell Hill.

“Since the market reopened in May we’ve seen a growing trend of buyers looking to move out of urban areas and it appears renters are now following suit,” says Miles Shipside of Rightmove.

“As working from home becomes the new normal for many people, and lesser significance is placed on living near a station to commute into central hubs, the appeal of living in quieter areas with more green spaces is becoming too attractive to ignore for tens of thousands of renters.”

You can see Rightmove’s full research tables below:

Top 10 biggest annual increases in rental searches outside London, Aug 2020 vs Aug 2019:

Place County Annual change
Cambridge Cambridgeshire +76%
Cirencester Gloucestershire +75%
Oxford Oxfordshire +64%
Bishop’s Stortford Hertfordshire +62%
Gloucester Gloucestershire +62%
Folkestone Kent +62%
Sale Greater Manchester +61%
High Wycombe Buckinghamshire +61%
Abingdon-on-Thames Oxfordshire +60%
Margate Kent +60%

Top 10 biggest annual increases in rental searches in London, Aug 2020 vs Aug 2019:

Place Area Annual change
Chessington South West London +99%
South Norwood South East London +83%
Barnet North London +70%
Colindale North West London +67%
Barnes South West London +64%
Muswell Hill North London +61%
Kingston Kingston upon Thames +59%
Winchmore Hill North London +59%
Hackney Wick East London +58%
De Beauvoir Town North London +58%

Top 10 biggest annual decline in rental searches in London, Aug 2020 vs Aug 2019:

Place Area Annual change
Earls Court South West London -40%
West Kensington West London -25%
New Cross Gate South East London -20%
Moorgate Central London -17%
New Cross South East London -14%
Earlsfield South West London -13%
Southfields South West London -11%
Euston North West London -10%
Clapham Junction South West London -9%
Barons Court West London -6%

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